Oil prices stable, supported by signs of emerging supply deficit

Drilling rigs are parked in the Cromarty Firth near Invergordon Scotland Britain in this file

The report said rising production outside the group pressed the need for continued restraint by Opec+.

The OPEC-led production cuts which began on January 1 and the USA sanctions against Iran and Venezuela have been carrying crude oil prices higher for months, but gains have been limited by concerns over rising US inventories and production.

Opec's self discipline and a surprise reduction in US crude inventories signaled tightening supplies, but concern that the US-China trade dispute won't end soon limited gains at week's end.

The cartel estimated 2018 non-OPEC supply rose by 30,000 barrels a day to 62.19 million barrels.

Despite the new curbs, market indicators followed by Opec will prolong concerns about excess supply.

The WTI Crude Oil market had a choppy session on Thursday, as we have broken above the 200 day EMA. That amounts to 105 percent compliance with pledged cuts, according to a Reuters calculation, up from January's rate.

The International Energy Agency said on Friday that the market could show a modest surplus in the first quarter of 2019 before flipping into a deficit in the second quarter by about 0.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

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The OPEC decline in February comes after the cartels' production in January fell by 797,000 barrels per day to average almost 30.8 million barrels per day. The newspaper article also states that USA energy gains will have a price for the environment and that Change.org has described the situation as a "climate disaster". It kept its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year unchanged at 1.24 million bpd.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude was trading at $67.38 per barrel at 0638 GMT with a 0.3 percent gain after closing Thursday at $67.19 a barrel.

Venezuelan oil production fell 142,000 barrels per day in February, or 8.9 percent, to just over 1 million barrels per day compared with January and was by far the biggest drop of the 14-country OPEC, as the country faced US sanctions imposed in late January.

The Saudis themselves reported total production of 10.14 million barrels a day in February, down by about 106,000 barrels a day compared to January.

Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate gained 0.39 per cent to United States dollars 58.79, while Brent crude, the worldwide benchmark was at 0.30 per cent to USD 67.43 per barrel. It earlier hit $60.03 a barrel, the highest since November 12.

"Opec continues to cut output amid ongoing supply issues, while the situation in Venezuela remains bleak", ANZ Bank said in a research note.

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